New player in the film industry comes to Hollywood South

Don Ames
June 19, 2017 - 8:44 am

Hollywood South is welcoming a totally new film and movie-making campus to town. 

Starlight Studios celebrates the grand opening of the first phase of a $28 million project in New Orleans East today.

Phase One encompasses a 12-acre campus including two sound stages totaling 44,000 SF, office space totaling 14,000 SF, production warehouse facilities and backlot spaces for exterior scenes. 

It's a major project.

"We have a 32-acre footprint, along with a two-story office building, production support space and parking," says Operations Officer, Kevin Murphy. "Our anticipation is to build two more stages."

The entire campus, across from the Michoud Assembly Facility, is projected to include four sound stages with 96,000 square feet of space and a 30,000-square-foot office building. 

Why New Orleans east? 

"The main reason is just the footprint, itself," says Murphy. "You're not going to find that much space in the congested areas Uptown, Garden District or anywhere on this side of the river and in Orleans Parish, which is where we wanted to stay."

Starlight Studios is the first new ground-up filming industry construction in the state in nearly 10 years. Its opening comes just after the legislature extended the state's film tax credit program, but at a time when the local film industry seems to have slowed. 

"This is a project that actually was started way back in 2012, at a time when, actually, the industry was hitting its highest levels."

"It takes time to go from concept to conception," Murphy says. "And, it's not just because the industry is at a point where I think it's going to be going back up that, if you would have started this yesterday, we'd be at the point we are today."

The studio is off to a good start, with Disney/ABC-TV moving in as a tenant four months before today's opening. 

Murphy feels good about the future of Hollywood South.

"We have a longer-term vision of where we feel the industry is going. It supplies and supports enough people that, it's not an industry you can shake a stick at."  

"We know the scrutiny is always there," says Murphy. "And, if all other industries were put under the same microscope and had to do the things that we have to do to survive, I don't think they'd all be where they are today."

"And, that actually goes back to the strength of this industry," he says. "We had faith in it and I think we've made the right decision, but time will tell."


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